Kirk Armstrong of Armstrong Sales Coaching shares a few tips and tricks to get prospective clients to respond to your emails.
By Kirk Armstrong
Sponsored by Armstrong Sales Coaching
Through the years, the art and science of selling has dramatically changed. Over the last decade, or even the last five years, the way we sell has changed exponentially. How many of you, even five years ago, did not have your cellphone printed on your business cards? Many. Five years ago, how appropriate was it to call a prospect’s cellphone or even send them a text? Not very. How many of you answered your landline five or 10 years ago versus today? Not many of you. Many I know, including myself, rarely answer their landlines, prefer text as their communication of choice and use their cell to speak with people and even check their emails.
The world has changed. In order to sell more, we have to adapt and get even better at communicating while using these tools. Here are a few techniques we teach in order to get others to respond to sales emails.
Sales Email Do’s and Don’ts:
If we want to differentiate ourselves from our competition, we must sound different than them. This even includes how we communicate with people through email. When we use phrases like, “Just following up,” “It was great to meet you” or even “Call me if you have any questions,” we run the risk of sounding like everyone else. Not to mention, they don’t work. Think about it, when someone sends a message to you that ends with, “Call me if you have any questions,” is that unique? Do you feel compelled to message them back or do you simply sit on it? Most agree, it doesn’t create urgency. Furthermore, I’ve never met a person who says to themselves, “Geez. I had some questions, but the salesperson didn’t say it was OK to call and ask them.” Not going to happen, ever. Instead, try ending all sales emails on a different question — something that leaves them compelled to answer such as, “What else do I owe you?” “What’s the next step?” or even, “Would that work for you (after a suggested time to meet, for example)?” It’s difficult to resist answering. Therefore, put a stand-alone question at the end of any email you want them to respond to. Nothing works 100 percent, but clients tell us they have enjoyed seeing the responses come back at a much higher rate.
No “fluff” to start emails. Remember, these aren’t for customers or clients you have good relationships with who you know well. We are talking about prospects you are trying to do business with who you don’t know or don’t know well. “Fluff” is when you’ve met them once and now start your email with statements like, “I hope you enjoyed your son’s basketball game last night” or, “It ended up being a great evening last night. Much better weather than when we met” or even, “Hope you’re having a great day.” The bottom line: People don’t care. And, they know you don’t care either. Most often, we use these phrases because we don’t know how to start an email comfortably. You’d be much better off simply saying, “Good morning” or “Good afternoon.” Nothing else is needed. Save yourself a lot of time and mental strain having to come up with creative ways to get back into conversations. Those who don’t believe me, ask a few people you trust. You’ll likely hear back that they don’t care about that stuff, and it does nothing to bring you closer to them. In fact, many will say those email starters lack sincerity.
The last tip is to avoid being self-serving. People care about one person: themselves. If your emails start with phrases like these, you are being self-serving: “I wanted to…,” “Let’s get together next week…,” “I haven’t heard back from you…” and “I was hoping we could… .” Notice something they have in common? Most start with “I”. Bad move. When I receive emails that sound like this, I say to myself, “I’m sure you do want me to meet with you, but that’s not what I want to do.” Or, “I’m sure you do want me to make the decision today, but that’s not what I want to do.” Self-serving phrases and tones of emails send the prospect in the opposite direction because they feel like they’re being sold, and the suggestions are in the best interest of the salesperson only. We suggest other phrases. Depending on the situation, you might try phrases like these instead: “Assuming nothing has changed, would it make sense to meet briefly?” “Would you be open to a brief meeting?” “When we spoke last, you were hoping to decide by this week. What answers do I still owe you (knowing you don’t owe them anything)?” By phrasing questions like this, we keep it about them and what they want. In turn, they are more likely to respond.
Little things like this in sales can make a big difference. We’ve shared some quick tips in order to help you, but there are literally hundreds of tiny things you can do to make a big difference in the return rate you receive on emails. Pay attention to the details, but also be aware that the rules are likely to change again as technology changes.
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